The kanji in her name are shān "coral" and pú "uncut/unpolished gem". The real pun in Shampoo's name though, is that some of the characters from her village are named after beauty products such as Mousse and Cologne.
Shampoo has waist-length dark hair (purple in the anime) with a fringe and two strands hanging in front that are secured with ties. She dresses in various forms of Chinese clothing, usually a matching blouse and pants, over which she may wear an apron while working. Her combat outfit consists of a light colored long-sleeved blouse and pants with the addition of a dark breastplate and a pair of metal arm-guards, making her one of the few characters to wear any form of armor. For formal occasions she favors sleeveless cheongsam.
Her cat form is light colored with dark ears and paws, a characteristic fringe, and similar strands that frame its face. In the anime, it has light pink fur with darker pink paws and ears.
Shampoo shows elements of the tsundere character, given her initially hostile temperament towards Ranma Saotome before slowly becoming more attracted to him until she finally stops her plans for revenge in favor of ensuring her marriage to Ranma.
She has repeatedly shown as devious and strategic as well as not being above scheming, play-acting or completely ruthless behavior to advance her position towards the object of her attention. However, Shampoo does seem to enjoy having fun from the trouble she causes, particularly if it means she can get close to Ranma as a result.
With her knowledge of pressure points and moxibustion, Shampoo is open to the idea of manipulating other's will to her advantage, whether that be to eliminate Akane or increasing the likelihood of Ranma returning her feelings for him. Given Shampoo's violent and protective behaviour, she views anyone who attempts to get between her and Ranma as an "obstacle" which must be killed. However, she has also resorted to other methods to remove an "obstacle", such as when she used the "Xi Fa Xiang Gao" to wipe Akane's memories of Ranma; until they return at which time she decides to resort to her usual violent techniques.
Of all the fiancées, Shampoo is the most sexually uninhibited and the most sensual, possibly due to her upbringing in a society including extensive warrior training for both males and females. Nudity is also not a problem for her, as she rather enjoys being naked and has attempted to seduce Ranma many times, even in dangerous places like under a giant bell. Early in the series, Kasumi Tendo had a talk with her about modesty. Although she did cease her faint-inducing habit of popping out of the tub naked anytime Ranma tried to take a bath, the conversation has apparently had little effect on her behavior other than that.
Soon after getting cursed at Jusenkyo, Ranma (as a girl) and Genma (as a panda) drop into a contest in a village of the Joketsuzoku "tribe of women heroes" ("Chinese Amazons" in English versions). Half-starved, they feed on the next available food-stuff - the feast that was to be the first prize for the contest - and are instantly challenged by Shampoo, the village champion. He swiftly defeats her, but this was a bad move. According to Chinese Amazon tribal laws, if a female Amazon is defeated by a female outsider, she must give the outsider the "Kiss of Death", hunt her down to the ends of the Earth, and kill her (as Ranma tells Akane, "and when they say 'to the ends of Earth', they mean it"). Ranma and Genma manage to elude her and settle down in Nerima, thinking that they've lost her.
However, Shampoo eventually tracks female Ranma down and resumes her attempts at murder. She finds Ranma, this time a male, in the Tendo household—where she managed to enter courtesy of Kasumi, who thought Genma had invited her, when she was actually stalking him—and declares her intent to kill Akane for hiding female Ranma from her. Ranma stops her attack by kicking the head off of her chúi, which knocked her cold when it landed on her head, accidentally defeating her a second time. However, instead of receiving a "Kiss of Death," Ranma gets a kiss on the lips; it turns out that if a female Amazon is defeated by a male outsider, she has to marry him. She continues on the path of trying to marry male Ranma and kill female Ranma, until Ranma tricks her into thinking that the male side is a disguise for the female side.
Heartbroken, Shampoo returns to China, where she undergoes re-training at the hands of her great-grandmother Cologne and finally receives a cat curse at Jusenkyo, which causes her to become concerned. Realizing that Ranma had been cursed as well, she goes back to Japan with Cologne to try to marry Ranma once more, learning in the process that he is actually male. Unfortunately, this revelation came at a price: Ranma has been completely "phobic" about cats (ailurophobic) since childhood.
Shampoo has managed to gain at least two strong rivals in the herbalists Pink and Link, a pair of twin sisters who live in Yaokaicun, a village near Joketsuzoku. The twins and Shampoo have held a grudge against each other since they were very little girls, and there’s no sign of it ending anytime soon. In their latest attempt at getting back at Shampoo, Pink and Link declared to Joketsuzoku’s local newspaper that Shampoo’s husband Ranma was ugly and weak; Shampoo had previously lied to the newspaper, stating that she was already married and living with Ranma.
Even if she has been chased by the Ghost Cat Maomolin a couple of times, Shampoo really has only one strong suitor, her childhood friend Mousse, whom she rejected when they were both three. Cologne has stated that this holds true by Amazon law, regardless if he manages to beat Ranma, but he remains stubborn despite her multiple rejections and frequent cruel and derisive treatment. In Shampoo's defense Mousse is very clingy, often trying to glomp her and will not take no for an answer. Then again she behaves exactly the same way towards Ranma, to an even more severe degree, and has been repeatedly shown as far more inconsiderate towards him than Mousse is to her. As is standard for the series, either behavior is frequently used in a comical manner. Shampoo generally seems annoyed and contemptuous towards Mousse, but occasionally shows some concern when he drives himself too far. Late in the series, when her love has been turned to hate by a magic jewel, and Mousse decides to take advantage to approach her, she rejects him in the normal manner, which may hint that her feelings towards him contain elements of both derision and appreciation.
Main article: Ranma-Shampoo Relationship Because of her traditions and Ranma defeating her (accidently) in his male form, it is law that she marry him, and she tries everything possible to accomplish that. Frequently, she glomps Ranma on sight and asks for a date, much to his chagrin. She is not above using trickery and magic to get Ranma to fall in love with her. Because of this, Ranma generally sees her as a nuisance, but tolerates her and seems to have a good degree of friendship with her, going to the Cat Cafe for free bowls of ramen and helping Mousse to rescue her when she's held captive by Maomolin.
Unlike Ukyo, who he at least apparently considers as a regular, non-romantic old friend, Ranma has stated outright that he views Shampoo as a pest, and treated her as an infuriating nuisance on several occasions. Regardless, his attitude towards both of them seems conflicted between consideration for their feelings. He was moved by Shampoo's tears when she believed that he rejected her during the onsen race, and had a similar problem with Ukyo during the 'Secret Sauce' arc. His pride took it as a direct challenge to win back Shampoo's affections during the 'Reversal Jewel' storyline, where he also forces a confession out of Ukyo to feel desirable again. His only attempt to directly get rid of Shampoo (beyond encouraging Mousse in his efforts) happened during her first appearance. Like most cute girls in the series, she can usually manipulate him by feigning tears. If that fails, Shampoo can sometimes get Ranma to bend to her will by transforming into her cat form and taking advantage of his fear - she usually performs this stunt when he makes her angry.
Shampoo first saw Akane as an obstacle for Ranma's affection, and has tried to kill or do away with her on more then one occasion. In a sense, they have a similar relationship to Ranma's and Ryoga's, being fierce rivals and battling on occasion. even calling each other friends, and saving each other on occasion, such as when Akane helped Mousse and Ranma free Shampoo from Maomolin, or when Shampoo helped to rescue Akane when she was kidnapped by Kirin of the Seven Lucky Gods. This doesn't stop Akane from being irritated when Shampoo tackle glomps Ranma.
Main article: Mousse-Shampoo Relationship Possibly Shampoo's most prominent relationship, she has known Mousse since childhood. Shampoo has claimed to completely hate Mousse and generally acts cold towards him, but does have her moments and acts nice to him. Mousse on the other hand is in love with Shampoo and desperately seeks her attention, despite her being after Ranma. Shampoo has tried to sabotage Mousse's efforts, and encouraged him and initially didn't care when he was to leave for China, but was glad when he returned, and even had a feast prepared for him. (though this is possibly cause her and Cologne needed to go away and have someone watch the restaurant.) Early in the manga Shampoo indifferently stated outright that she hates Mousse, and in the closing chapter, that he makes her sick, and that that she'd like to personally kill him for his "foolish behavior" and "ruining her happiness". However there have been a few hints that her feelings for her childhood 'friend'/nuisance are not restricted to contempt, loathing and annoyance. She beat him up in the regular manner while wearing the Reversal Jewel, which turns love to hatred, incorrectly (although turning hatred to love, was never explicitly implied). Cologne commented that "It seems as if Shampoo does not hate you as much as before". Shampoo also agreed to go on a date with him, after he eventually abstained from using magic apology-inducing glasses during his duels with Ranma, while the latter retaliated by using any petty cheats available. However the goodwill Mousse earned by appearing in a better light than his rival, was eradicated when he took Shampoo to a zombie-demon show, which she found disgusting and not romantic in the least. Later, when Mousse was almost drained of life while enchanted into dating a magic jizou statue he believed was Shampoo, she initially didn't care at all, and stayed home to play video games instead. Eventually, she reluctantly gave him a scarf she was making for Ranma to wake him from the trance. Nevertheless, it always takes extreme circumstances for her to give him any leeway whatsoever since she generally harshly rejects, and treats him in a very cold manner. For example, she cheerfully repeatedly threw bombs at him (which are non lethal by Ranmaverse standards) during a duel with Ranma, since she didn't wish to give him a promised date if he either managed to prevail, or Ranma lost on purpose. While she temporarily felt bad about it and cradled his beaten duck form afterward, she quickly got over it, tying him with a chain to the neck, and taunted him by holding his food out of reach. When she found his duck form beaten (by Taro) on the street she didn't bother to brake and casually ran over him, but seemed somewhat concerned or at least curious afterwords. After Ranma pinned Mousse's duck form to a wall and said 'If you weren't such a moron I wouldn't have Shampoo pestering me all the time,' she did turn into a cat and began to chase Ranma, but not to save Mousse, but because she was maddened by the statement. After Mousse decided to free Shampoo from Kiima's slavery instead of taking advantage, she didn't feel the least inclination of gratitude, or even spared him a moment's thought, but rather immediately took the opportunity to hug Ranma instead. In the separate anime continuity there are occasional hints that Shampoo actually does hold some love for him, despite vehemently professing the contrary. In the later part of the series Shampoo was the one who convinced him to stay in Japan rather than go back to China, and she cradled him in her arms when he saved her life but was almost killed in the 'Nihao, My Concubine' movie. In the first example, though, she and Cologne explicitly did so because they decided to go to a hot springs and wanted somebody to watch the shop, and knew that Mousse was still available and would do it for free. In the second example, Shampoo is shown relaxing while Mousse is being forced to do heavy labor in the background in the ending credits.
Shampoo and Ukyo have a complex relationship. While the two are rivals for Ranma's affections, and rivals in the food business, they can occasionally get along. Other times, they usually trade snide remarks. Their rivalry can be displayed not just in their fighting but in their cooking, when Ukyo accidentaly ruined Shampoo's ramen by getting okonomiyaki sauce in it, but only sarcastically apologized, which led to Shampoo pouring it onto Ukyo's cooking.
Having been trained in the martial art techniques of the Joketsuzoku since birth, with Cologne as her personal instructor and the young female village champion, Shampoo is an excellent armed or unarmed fighter, is very swift and acriobatic, and strong enough to casually walk right through reinforced stone walls on a regular basis.
Shampoo apparently doesn't remotely compare to Ranma himself, and was completely outmatched and effortlessly overpowered the few times she has seriously faced him in one on one combat.
She suffered a 1-hit loss during her village's martial arts competition, where the goal was to knock the opponent off the log they were standing on, and an accidental identical result when focused on killing Akane, both times before he was powered-up by Cologne. On the first occasion she had fought previous battles and Ranma was starved, but neither was shown as the least bit exhausted. She was likewise completely outmatched in the "Reversal Jewel" arc, despite his holding back by only using restraining tactics, and her 'programming' to truly hate him, explicitly shown as completely motivated, but was also restricted to unarmed combat.
It's noteworthy that Shampoo did manage somewhat better when armed with her signature weapons in the final arc, but female Ranma also held back by sticking to defensive/restraining regular fighting, due to Shampoo being brainwashed. In comparison, Mousse has displayed vastly superior mettle in several of his battles with Ranma, although this has gained him very limited respect.
While Shampoo has been shown to join Ranma against Taro and the Phoenix tribe in the manga and fights against other opponents in the anime, it could simply be due to her being available at the time, or, more pragmatically, being suitable for the story purposes. Thus this is by no means conclusive evidence of her ranking.
Her only shown skirmish with Ukyo (beyond a couple of brief, or off-screen free-for-all gang-ups against Ranma, Hinako, or Genma), happened during the onsen race, and consisted of Shampoo being kept busy deflecting Ukyo mini-spatulas, while their feet were tied to Ranma and Ryoga's respectively, but Ukyo didn't use her more powerful special techniques, and also managed to hold her own against Ranma for a much longer time during their initial conflict. Ukyo's better performance is at least partially due to being surrounded by a hot grill and that Ranma initially held back, but she also managed to avoid two of his attacks and strike him with a flour bomb when this was no longer the case, as well as fight and parry with Ryoga for a brief time before being overcome. In the end there has been no clear-cut contest of relative skill between the two in the manga. In the anime continuity their comparative ability is more clearly displayed. In "Ranma the Lady-Killer" they are both exhausted after a duel that has gone on for hours. Shampoo was not shown using her bonbori, and Ukyo not shown employing her superior range of special techniques. While Ukyo is distracted by talking to Ranma just as the fight resumes, Shampoo uses the moment to sucker-attack Ukyo with a barrage of thrown forks, pinning her to a tree.
Kodachi Kuno seems of comparative, or slightly lower, ability outside of tournaments, while Mariko may be stronger than all of them. It's uncertain how to compare with Tatewaki Kuno, as the latter can either pose a challenge for Ranma, with powerful air-pressure swipes, be treated as a 1-hit joke, an even match for his sister, or even as vastly superior to his nemesis.
The only character Shampoo has been explicitly shown as stronger than was Akane very early in the series, although doubt could be cast on whether Shampoo retains her superiority. Shampoo managed to stand up to Akane's strength to an extent when the youngest Tendo had eaten Super Soba, despite not being aware of this fact. When Shampoo ate some Super Soba of her own, the two seemed more evenly matched, but it is unknown if Super Soba raises the eater's strength to a preset level or if it builds on the user's own strength, and Shampoo did not have much time to challenge Akane in either case before Ranma tricked her into eating the antidote. In the early manga, at the start of the Martial Arts Takeout race, Shampoo casually deflects a flurry of daggers thrown at her back while she is serving customers by flinging the bowl of ramen straight into the air and using her serving tray to reflect the daggers back and pin the customers that Cologne is trying to impress to the wall without hurting them. She does this without looking back or moving anything other than her arms, catches the thrown bowl of ramen without spilling a drop, and seems neither surprised nor strained by this exertion. By comparison, Akane would not receive a similar feat, deflecting/dodging a barrage of arrows fired from the front, until the second-last story of the manga.
Shampoo's most impressive moment in the manga came when she was freed from Kiima's enslavement, became supremely motivated to let her captor "suffer a thousand deaths", apparently managed to hold her own against the Phoenix tribe captain, although, in the one full page dedicated to their battle, Kiima was shown as mostly interested in freeing the Kinjakan to assist her lord Saffron in his confrontation with Ranma. They are later shown as completely focused on watching the fight, with Kiima in a headlock.
In the anime, a similar fight occurred with Mon Lon in the movie "Big Trouble in Nekoron, China". Shortly afterwards Mon Lon is incapacitated in Mousse's arms (who believes her to be Shampoo) while Shampoo is shown to be okay.
In the manga, Shampoo makes a strike at female Ranma after the latter reveals her dual identity, but Ranma's hand was positioned to block it, and Shampoo stopped herself before delivering it. In the anime continuity Shampoo attack is more aggressive, using her chúi, and Ranma eventually trips while dodging Shampoo's attacks and is left on the ground anticipating a hit, but Shampoo is unwilling to land the blow and stops her attack at this point.
Beyond her fighting abilities, Shampoo has displayed knowledge of ventriloquism/voice imitation, shiatsu-induced unconsciousness, mind-control or memory loss, sleep-fighting, intuitive multi-step strategy, defense against enchanted herbs, Chinese cooking, and incredible tracking skills enabling her to hunt Ranma from rural China to the east of Japan. She also has access to minor magic equipment, and is capable of using her bike to literally bounce across the city. Her true strength may lie in sheer versatility.
- Hissatsu Shiatsuken (必殺指圧拳 Xi Fa Xiang Gao?): An attack using a specially devised herbal shampoo in conjunction with a shiatsu massage technique involving pressure points on the head to erase her opponent's memories. The process takes at most 6 seconds.
- Dumpling Bombs: Similar to Ukyo's okonomiyaki bombs, but smaller. Only used in the final wedding story.
- Fork Darts (Anime): Similar to Ukyo's spatula shuriken.
- Kakato Otoshi: A jumps on someone's head to get a boost, used on Akane. named in Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle
- Remote Control Acupressure: Activated by pressing both fingers against an unprepared target's temples. Used to turn a distracted Akane unconscious during the 'waterproof soap' story. Afterwards the victim is susceptible to a brief mind-control effect, and made Akane put herself in harm's way by standing in front of a roller coaster, then affectionately hug Ryoga and finally urge him to give back Shampoo's waterproof soap.
- Sleep fighting: Used against Pink and Link after being bitten by the Poisonous-Snake Plant. Although someone bitten by the plan will fall into a deep sleep which needs an antidote to awaken from, Shampoo's hatred of the twins was so strong that she gave both serious trouble even while asleep before eventually succumbing to the plant's poison.
Less useful moves:
- Voice Imitation/Ventriloquism: Another 'secret soap' technique. Shampoo perfectly imitated Akane's tone of voice, but it is unclear if she used ventriloquism or not given that she crouched behind her rival.
- Chow Mein Strike: The user turns a bowl-full of ramen noodles into a whip, forcing the intended food recipient to eat his way out during take-out competitions. Given its limited tensile strength it's likely not useful beyond this function.
- Delivery Box Blow-out (also known as the Box-Blower Blow): A move from the school of 'Martial Arts Takeout,' a style in which Cologne has stated that she's 'not half bad.' This allows Shampoo to instantly 'overcook' the food contained within a delivery box with a finger or pointed hand strike. It may have had a similar effect when she accidentally struck a water tower instead, although more likely it simply burst after being slightly cracked. This technique only appears in Shampoo's arsenal in the manga; in the anime it is the property of Kaori Daikoku.
Shampoo has been a staple character in the most of the video games and a playable character in the fighting games. She is briefly seen jogging in Lum's signature tiger stripe bikini in the InuYasha episode "Battle Against the Dried-Up Demons at the Cultural Festival". She is only seen from the back. Shampoo made several cameos in Kappa Mikey in crowd scenes, usually dancing, and also appears briefly in the opening theme.
- In the Hong Kong version of the anime, she speaks more fluently than she did in the original version.
- She bears a passing resemblance to Lum Invader, a character from one of Takahashi's first manga series,Urusei Yatsura.
- Shampoo bears a virtual resemblance to Renka Ma from History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi. Oddly enough Renka was called "kitty" and even has a tendency to act like a cat, possibly a reference to Shampoo's cat form. The two also compete against the lead females for the attention of the main protagonists.
- Shampoo's mother is never shown during the series. Her father appears several times in cameos in the manga but never in the anime.
- In Slayers NEXT there is a pair of characters, called Mimi and Nene, who have a strong resemblance to Shampoo, sharing similar hairstyle and Chinese clothing.
- The manga has a running gag of Shampoo making her entrance by running over people, mainly Ranma, with her bicycle. This also appears on a few occasions in the anime, but is usually directed against other people and only appears roughly half a dozen times in all of the anime episodes and specials.
- Fans of the series often mistakenly refer to Shampoo's weapons as bonbori, which is incorrect: bonbori are a spherical shaped paper lantern that are hung outside in Japan, which her weapons do resemble.